Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

3.5 Stars
King Edward VII
King Edward VII - E.F. Benson

My knowledge about the more recent British kings and queens is more limited than the older ones, and for Edward VII in particular, most of it seemed to come from a book entitled 1000 Years of Annoying the French. However, this was an interesting account which I enjoyed reading, especially the part about his relationship with queen Victoria and the more general history on late 19th century/early 20th century Europe.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

3 Stars
The Escape Book
The Escape Book: Can you escape this book? - Ivan Tapia

The Escape Book has the concept of an Escape Room, but in a book, how cool does that sound?

I've done a couple of escape rooms, and I'm proud to say my escape rate is at 100% (though twice really close with either 17 or 2 seconds left). I quite like them, and combining them with a book made me really curious, but slightly afraid also, because of course, I'd never read an escape room.

There's text until the main character reaches a puzzle, which you will then have to solve in order to know at what page you have to continue reading. In my electronic review copy, numbering was off, which made it harder to find the right pages. There was also the limitation that the solution to each and every puzzle is a number. While I understand, it would have been nice to have some more variation (which isn't thrown in until the very end). However, the story in between the puzzles is repetitive, vague and at times I wanted to smack her because she spends a lot of time pondering where she should be going through the maze.

A fun book for a rainy afternoon, but it couldn't really grasp the escape room feel.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

2.5 Stars
The Iron Rider
The Iron Rider (A Dance of Dragons #3.5) - Kaitlyn Davis

The Iron Rider concludes A Dance of Dragons as it is the final companion novella to the main series. While these stories don't add too much to the main series, if you liked Princess Leena, you will want to pick this up. It's not too long, and can easily be read in a single sitting. It's decent, although the main events in this story go a bit too smooth I think.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

3 Stars
Enemy (On the Bones of Gods Book 1) - K. Eason

Enemy was a book that divided me. On the one hand I was liking it, even though the story was not that special and fits very well in the well established fantasy genre. On the other hand, the writing was, for want of a better word, quirky and it didn't always work for me. So much so, that I still am undecided on this book.

But, my interest has been sparked and I might give the second book a try as well.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

3.5 Stars
New Charity Blues
New Charity Blues - Camille Griep

New Charity Blues is marketed as a retelling of the Trojan War, but as such, the comparisons are rather subtle and I wouldn't recommend it being read like that. After a devastating plague survivors have scrambled together to form two communities, one poor, one relatively rich. When one girl is allowed into the New Charity from the City, she is surprised to see the riches there and she might hold the future of the entire world in her hands.

This was an interesting read. The focus was not so much on the post-apocalyptic setting of the story but more about relevant questions of good and evil, what we would like and what we should do. As such, very interesting. The dual POV was not my favourite but I enjoyed reading the novel nevertheless.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

3 Stars
Zoektocht in Katoren
Zoektocht in Katoren / druk 1 - Jan Terlouw

~Short English Review Below~

Koning van Katoren was een van mijn favoriete jeugdboeken, dus toen er een vervolg uit zou komen, was ik gematigd enthousiast. Natuurlijk wilde ik meer Katoren, maar ik was ook bang dat het (een deel van) de magie zou wegnemen. Zoektocht in Katoren komt redelijk repetitief over, zowel naar het origineel als binnen het boek zelf. Desalnietemin heb ik me er wel even mee vermaakt. Ik zou het alleen niet herlezen.


'Koning van Katoren' was one of my favourite children's book, so I had to read this sequel once it was published. While not a good as the original, I still enjoyed myself reading it.

4 Stars
Een Minuut Eerlijkheid
Een minuut eerlijkheid - Bjørn Sortland, Femke Blekkingh-Muller

Original Title: Ærlighedsminuttet


When I read this book some time ago, it left a great impression on me. When Frida hears that she will be turning blind, she decides to grab the opportunity and discover some art. This she does by looking at different interpretations, a total of 34, of the same event: the crucifixion of Jesus.

I really liked this original idea of interweaving a story and some art history. It was something I hadn't encountered before, and one of the reasons why the book has stayed with me for all this time.

4 Stars
Triptych - Karin Slaughter

Some more old reviews I'm filling in here to close the gaps :)




I'd never read anything by Karin Slaughter before, but she was recommended to me so many times I decided to give Triptych a try, and I liked it a lot. The story was pretty dark and blood was running freely. I did catch onto the killer rather early on, but still, I would like to read more of Karin Slaughter's books in the future.

3.5 Stars
The Great Quake
The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet - Henry Fountain

When I was eleven years old, the big Sumatra earthquake and following tsunami on Boxing day shook the world with its devastating power. However, it also shook my interest into geology and tectonics. So when I came across The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet I was immediately curious.

I have to admit that I was completely unaware of this earthquake, although its significance became clear very quickly, with the new techniques that had been developed recently even if the human and material loss was relatively low due to it happening in a scarcely populated area.

Henry Fountain gives a rather complete overview of the different aspects surrounding the 'great quake', looking at it from many different points of view. However, I thought rather a lot of the book was filled with human interest stories which somehow made it feel a little overdramatic. It also took a long time to get to the actual quake and its aftermath. However, I thought it was an interesting book and I would definitely recommend it to those interested in earth quakes and geology.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with a free book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5 Stars
Liverpool Street
Liverpool street - Anne C. Voorhoeve, Hilke Makkink

I actually took this book with me to give it to my mother, as she really likes to read children's books about the Second World War. She said I should read the book as well. And I'm really glad because I enjoyed reading it a lot and think I've learned quite a lot by reading it.

I had heard before of the trains that saved Jewish children to England. But to be honest, I never had given it that much thought. Mostly about how extremely hard it must have been. Some things seemed really harsh to me though, like how she wouldn't be allowed to return to England if she had once left it.

3 Stars
De Vriend
De vriend - Charles den Tex

Quite standard thriller, which can be nice from time to time, but my biggest problem were the negative clichés surrounding the characters, i.e. the criminals are all Eastern Europeans, the young woman is naive and need two strong men to protect her, etc.



Gelezen voor de discussie op Ezzulia.nl

Ik had ooit een heel klein boekje van den Tex gelezen en dat stond me niet bij als bijzonder goed, maar dat is iets waarvan ik vind dat het heel veel voorkomt bij van dat soort korte verhalen, de schrijver komt er nooit helemaal tot zijn recht. Vandaar dat ik dit nieuwe boek zeker eens een kans wilde geven.

Het is een standaard Nederlands verhaal. Ten minste, ik heb het al vaker voorbij zien komen op tv en in boeken. Clue is een aanslag te voorkomen. Niet bijster origineel misschien maar de uitwerking kan het verschil helemaal maken.
Helaas vond ik dat de personages heel stereotyp werden neergezet. Een kleine greep uit het aanbod; Oost-Europeanen zijn criminelen, jonge vrouw is naief, durft haar moeder niet tegen te spreken, valt op verkeerde mannen en heeft twee sterke figuren nodig om haar te beschermen; politieman vereenzaamd van gezin; hacker die nauwelijks daglicht ziet. Het was allemaal iets wat ik al te vaak gezien had om het nog echt leuk te vinden.
Daarnaast las het boek zeker wel lekker en is het leuk vermaak voor zo tussendoor in de trein...

2 Stars
Breekijzer - Milou van der Will

Having read Milou van der Wills first book, I was curious to read Breekijzer. Unfortunately, I was not very impressed with it. It was a quick and easy read, but the story was rushed and felt like it had needed some more detail in order to come to life.




Gelezen voor de preview van crimezone.nl

Van Milou van der Will verscheen eind 2010 haar eerste boek. Dit heb ik via een leesclub mogen lezen, en hoewel ik normaal gesproken niet bijzonder gecharmeerd ben van Nederlandse thrillers, staat mij bij dat ik het opvallend goed vond.

Vandaar dat ik ook zo benieuwd was naar dit tweede boek van haar. Het gegeven klonk alvast goed en ik wilde het graag lezen. Helaas pakte het deze keer een beetje verkeerd uit voor mij. In het verhaal, waar ik verder niet op in zal gaan, spelen twee lijnen door elkaar, die - in mijn ogen - beter als twee verschillende verhalen had uitgewerkt kunnen worden. Nu zag ik twee lijnen, die allebei niet voldoende uitgewerkt waren om echt goed stand te kunnen houden. Daarnaast speelden op verschillende moment de geloofwaardigheid het boek nog een beetje parten en waren er momenten waarop ik me afvroeg welke psychologische stoornis de hoofdpersoon moest hebben zo weinig emoties toonde hij. De personages kwamen ook niet helemaal uit de verf, enkel de twee belangrijkste kregen wat meer aandacht (mijn inziens nog niet genoeg) waardoor je je niet verbonden met ze voelde en ook niet mee ging leven.

Aan de andere kant was de schrijfstijl er een die heel prettig las, die ook heel gemakkelijk las. Soms misschien een beetje té. Wat ik vooral jammer vond was het ontbreken van écht mooie, memorabele zinnen die je bij blijven. Ik zou me nu al geen enkele zin meer voor de geest kunnen halen, en zeker niet een die de moeite van het doorvertellen waard zou zijn.

Dat is ook een beetje het probleem met het hele boek. Ja, het leest makkelijk en snel en het is echt geen straf het te moeten lezen. Maar nee, het is niet iets waar je nog snel aan terug zal denken, niet iets dat je mensen aan gaat raden en niet iets waar je veel over zult vertellen. Jammer, maar ik heb het idee dat voor mij dit boek compleet is afgesloten en begint te vervagen zodra ik het voor de laatste keer heb dichtgeslagen.

4 Stars
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde, Jeffrey Eugenides

A friend of mine told me about The Picture of Dorian Gray and she is quite a fan of it. I wanted to read it as well, to see if it really was as good as she said.


I enjoyed reading it. For me, it wasn't the best book I've ever read and there wasn't much surprise for me in it (my friend told me the story) but it was still interesting to read in my opinion. It took me quite some time to finish the book, but that hadn't to do with the story.


It was also the first book I read online (instead of on paper; it was a free read on GR and this was still before I had an eReader) so I had to get used to that as well.

2 Stars
Night Train To Lisbon
Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel - Pascal Mercier, Barbara Harshav

I started reading Nighttrain to Lisbon together with quite some other frequent book-readers. I probably hadn't chosen this book by myself even though the press were very enthusiast about it.


But, I didn't like it. The story seemed a bit weird, I didn't know what to think of it. And in my opinion everything happens far too easy. He finds everyone he wants to speak with, everybody is still alive. I really had to force myself to keep reading and prevent myself from putting it away.


I wouldn't recommend it, but I know there are a lot of people who really like it as well.

1 Stars
Russisch Water
Russisch water - Caroline Ligthart

For such a short book it was such a boring read. The story never managed to interest me and the word jokes were cringe worthy. A huge disappointment!




Preview voor Ezzulia.nl

Dit boekje kreeg ik als preview voor Ezzulia. Het is een dun boekje van een voor mij onbekende schrijfster.

Het las makkelijk, alleen vond ik het verhaal niet veel voorstellen. Het was niet echt interessant of geloofwaardig. De woordgrappen vond ik niet echt geslaagd. Helaas viel het me enorm tegen...

5 Stars
The Dead Of Night
The Dead of Night - John Marsden

I've read the first four books so far (as I haven't been able to find the last three books in my library yet), and for me, this series was a great surprise! I had been willing to read the Tomorrow series for years, but somehow I never really got to the point where I would buy and eventually read them.


Till last year! And I may say that I thought it to be the best series I've read that year! This second book, I thought it to be thrilling, and I love the fact that (even though the things that happen are terrible) the story is original and full of suspense!


I would recommend this book to a lot of people, but please read the first book first!

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